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Qatar University Biofuels Project


The aim of the Qatar University Biofuels Project is to find a way of producing affordable, sustainable biofuels which do not rely on the use of valuable arable land and which can be produced efficiently in the harsh climate of Qatar.


Research & Development

Value-chain step

Type of pathway

Starting time and duration
2010 -

Academic, Airlines

Regional scope

Involved countries



The Qatar University’s project is a state-backed research program, carried out in cooperation with Qatar Airways and Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP). The first phase (USD 12 million) started in 2010 and is expected to finish end of 2013.


It focuses on the cultivation of single-celled photosynthetic organisms (cyanobacteria and microalgae) that are well suited to the Qatar local environment: extreme heat, strong sunlight and highly saline water. The main goals of the initial phase were to obtain candidate biofuel microalgae and test their performance outdoors in Qatar’s climatic conditions.
The plan for the second phase of the project is to capture CO2 generated by natural gas, oil and desalination industry for algal growth.
The ultimate goal is to build a pre-commercial pilot plant with an indicative volume of 1.5 million of litres and to produce one barrel of liquid biofuel per day.



Qatar University, Qatar Airways, Qatar Science and Technology Park

Achievements to date

  • Selection of indigenous photosynthetic organisms with good growing capabilities under Qatar conditions, study of their growth characteristics, extensive biochemical and genetic characterization.
  • Successful outdoor cultivation trials in 1500 litres tanks.
  • Up-scaling to 25000 litres outdoor ponds underway (Qatar University Farm Demo Plant)
Contact information